Mint and Parsley Salad

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Otherwise known as Tabbouleh, this is a favorite salad in the Middle East.

I spent my first two years of university in Beirut, Lebanon, before Tabbouleh was common over here. This mint and parsley salad was just one of the things that I loved about that city, which at the time was considered the “Pearl of the Middle East”.

I believe I make great tabblouleh, but my son-in-law’s father, who was born and raised in Damascus, challenges me on that. He has declared that he can tell which middle eastern country someone is from by their tabbouleh, and of course, he considers his own Syrian rendition the best. I disagree.  I love this style of tabbouleh that I first tasted at a little café on Rue Bliss soon after my arrival.

Lebanese Tabbouleh

  • 3/4 cup fine bulghur
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Submerge the parsley in a sink full of water. On removing it from the water, shake it well and then lay it on a tea towel to dry.

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When it is quite dry, which sometimes takes a bit of blotting, snip off the stems with scissors.

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And then chop it with a knife.  Don’t pulverize the parsley, just chop it enough that it is easy to mix with the other ingredients.

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Meanwhile soak the bulghur in a cup of water. (I get my bulghur from a middle eastern store, but Red Mill is readily available.) Bulghur, made from a variety of wheat grains that have been par-boiled and dried, adds a nutty flavor to the salad.

The mint needs to be chopped to a similar size as the parsley, and the tomatoes are chopped to approximately 1/2 inch cubes.  Let the tomatoes drain on paper towels before adding them to the parsley. Dice the onions.

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The salad dressing is easy.  Combine the lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir the parsley, mint, onions, and tomatoes are together in a large bowl.

Squeeze the moisture from the bulghur by hand and throw it into the parsley. You’ll notice that there isn’t as much bulghar in this tabbouleh as you usually see in an American version. My mother used to say that the reason was because labor (to cut the parsley) is cheaper in Lebanon.

Pour approximately 1/2 of the dressing onto the salad and stir to mix well. Take a little taste to determine if more dressing is needed.

To serve, arrange romaine leaves on a platter. Spoon the parsley and mint salad on to the romaine leaves.

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Tabbouleh is healthy and delicious! And every bite reminds me of those lazy hazy days I passed in Beirut.

 

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A Profusion of Pots and a Packet of Parsley

parsley pots

The profusion of pots on the gardening shelf in our garage is evidence of my lack of success with orchids, and basically most houseplants. The husband was getting a bit cranky about how much area those little pots were taking up in a limited space. So when I received a packet of Heirloom Sweet Parsley, Triple Curled as a gift, I decided to put those pots to use.

parsley in pots

I have twelve pots with parsley. And I have a plan. I’m going to let those parsley plants grow a bit and then give them to friends. My own parsley will be growing in a big pot outdoors. Parsley is a rich source of anti-oxidant nutrients so we will all benefit.

 Although it is said that the Greeks used parsley medicinally and that their warriors fed parsley to their horses, I’ve read that it was the Romans who first used parsley as a food. And apparently they used it in large quantities….to counter strong odors and discourage intoxication at banquets.

Parsley can be chewed to freshen the breath, or infused for use as a digestive tonic or a hair tonic, but I use it in the kitchen. I add it to salads, use it for the herbal blend Bouquet Garni, and add it to soups and stews towards the end of the cooking time.  The husband uses it as a garnish.

But my all time favorite use for parsley is for Tabbouleh, a mint and parsley salad very common in the Middle East.  And that, my friends, will be the next post.

 

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Peg’s Piroshkies

cooked pirogisMy mother got this recipe, in the early 1960’s, from an old and dear friend of hers, who was a bit trendier in the kitchen than she was. The idea of piroshkies was so foreign to her that she mispronounced the name, and as a result…. I grew up calling these meat stuffed dumpling purouskies. We loved them no matter what they were called. They were the perfect carry along food. We ate them in the car on Friday nights when we were on our way to our cabin.  They were often in the lunches we took to the mountains on the ski bus.

I’ve used them in the same way for my family. I tried to keep a stash in the freezer, so my constantly hungry boys would have something somewhat nutrious to eat after sport practices. I put frozen piroshkies in the kids’ school lunches and they would be defrosted by the time they ate lunch at school. They went up to the mountains and out on the sailboat.

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So this weekend when I had son #2 and son #3 home with 2 of our grand-daughters, I decided to have some piroshkies ready.

And because they are so easy to make….you should make some too!

Peg’s Piroshkies

  • 1 package of Rhodes dinner rolls
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Rhodes bread rolls

Rhodes Dinner Rolls make Pirogi prep easy!

Defrost the dinner rolls according to package directions.

In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion and garlic.

Add the seasonings and stir well.

Place the ground beef in a colander to drain fat for 15 to 20 minutes.

meat ground and cooked

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using one roll at a time, flatten the roll on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about a 6-inch diameter.

bread for paruski

Spoon 1/3 cup of the ground beef mixture onto the bread and pinch the edges together to seal.

filling paruskis

Place the filled roll, seam side down, onto a greased baking sheet.

pirogis ready to bake

Continue with additional rolls until all of the meat is used.

Brush the surface of each roll with a bit of milk.

Bake the rolls for 20 to 23 minutes at 350 degrees.  The rolls should appear slightly browned.

 

 

 

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Pork Pot Stickers with Dipping Sauce

Pork Potstickers

These tasty little teasers were a delicious snack before dinner last night.

They’re fairly easy to make and were a hit at my house. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Makes 20 pot stickers and about 1/3 cup dipping sauce.

  • 4 ounces ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 cup water

For the dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/ tablespoon sliced green onion
  1. Combine the pork, green onions, red pepper, 1 tablespoon water, teriyaki sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Stir until smooth.
  2. Place 1 teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of a wonton wrapper. Wet the edge of the wrapper, fold over, and seal the edges in a triangular shape.  Do the same for each of the 20 dumplings.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 10 pot stickers to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes and flip the dumplings. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Carefully pour 1/2 cup water in the pan. Cover the pan and cook for 4 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook for approximately 2 minutes until the liquid evaporates. Remove the pot stickers to a warm serving dish.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the remaining 10 dumplings.
  6. To make the dipping sauce, combine soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, ginger powder, curry paste, chili sauce,  brown sugar, minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon sliced green onion in a small bowl.  Stir well.
  7. Spoon a bit of dipping sauce over the plated pot stickers and pass the bowl for further dipping.

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Simply Winter Salads will be Free on Amazon Kindle

51xIJFwoZWL__BO2,204,203,20Simply Winter Salad at AmazonEven though it is officially Spring, the weather doesn’t look that way outside.  We’re anxiously waiting warmer weather, lively gardens, outdoor markets, and all of the other events that tell us that summer will eventually arrive.

Until then we are using these recipes to keep our salads interesting.  Simply Winter Salads will be FREE on Amazon Kindle from March 26, 2014 until March 30, 2014. I’m sure you will find a recipe that you love.

 

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Blue Cheese and Mushroom Salad

Serves 6 and travels well!

Serves 6 and travels well!

Yesterday was lovely and I was able to get some seeds in the ground.  Today it is once again grey and blustery. And did I mention cold?  I can’t wait for the days when I can go out to the garden and pick my greens and vegetables for a salad, but I know it’s a ways off. So I did the next best thing and ran to the market and picked up some vegetables to make a salad that I know is filling, scrumptious, and easy to prepare. Here it is:

Blue Cheese and Mushroom Salad

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 4 cups torn romaine pieces
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved

 

Prepare the dressing: combine the mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to blend well. Add the oil to the mustard mixture very slowly, stirring constantly so the ingredients will emulsify. Gently stir in the basil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Divide the dressing in two containers.

Wipe each mushroom with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt or grit. Slice thinly and set aside.

One hour before serving, place the mushrooms and sliced green onions in a bowl. Pour one container of the dressing over the mushrooms and green onions and allow them to marinate for one hour.

When you’re ready to serve, stir the arugula into the marinated mushrooms. Spread the romaine pieces on a platter or serving piece. Pour the mushroom/arugula mixture over the romaine. Drop the walnut pieces and crumbled blue cheese over the top and arrange the cherry tomatoes around the rim of the salad.

Serve the salad with the second container of salad dressing.

If you like this one…..you will probably find others that you like in my e-cookbook, Simply Winter Salads. And you should know that it will be free at Amazon Kindle, starting tomorrow until Sunday, March 30. And if you like it….I would be so appreciative if you would write a review.

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Herb Butter on Fleet Street Tonight!

herb butter with caption

I served this butter with a fresh baguette at dinner tonight. It’s easy and doesn’t take more than 5 minutes, if the butter is at room temp!

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced flat leaf parsley (sometime we call this Italian parsley)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients and spoon into a shallow small bowl.

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